Lofoten Huts Look Like the IKEA Catalog – Only Cleaner

27-06-2014 19-04-06
This is the place – this hut is gorgeous – so gorgeous that we forgot to take photos of it.

So we took off under cloudy skies and parked over near the little ski hill in Svolvaer. Its not a big place – tiny by any standard, but it deserves mention perhaps because it is what ski hills should be – cheap and run for the love of it. The whole thing is a non profit, run by the local parents of the kids in town – mostly so their kids will have a place to ski, race and generally get good at skiing – since the expectation is that when they have got the skills to really ski – they’ll head into the hills on their own as we do.

I like the idea of that: a ski hill acting as a feeder for a thriving ski-touring scene. Unfortunately – for the largest part of the skiing world, it’s the other way around. Although I am encouraged by the new interest in human-powered skiing – so much of it is all about beef and macho that I wonder how long it will be before lifts start getting built in the name of “access” and the only use for a set of DIN 16 Super-Bad Bindings with DeathGrip Boots and a stumble function is so you can skin from your runout back to the bar. To me that’s just a ski resort by another name – not that I mind ski resorts, but we’ve got enough of them.

So up we went, and despite some cloud, we managed to stay mostly out of the snow and rain- with occasional sun.

Toby wants to wait for the lift – we didn’t tell him it was closed except on weekends and school holidays
Toby wants to wait for the lift – we didn’t tell him it was closed except on weekends and school holidays

Up and around – with nice snow. The night before had given some fresh, so we made nice tracks all the way.

We kept going for more
We kept going for more

The air was quite cold though – so none of us was all that unhappy for a little lunch break out of the cold in a brand new hut of the Norwegian Trekking System (DNT). These things are all over Norway – and they are some of the nicest I have ever seen. Part of this is due to the lower traffic they see than many Alpine huts – but its also true that they are much newer, and that the Norwegians – being cancerously polite and ordered, take much better care of them than your typical French Weekend climbing / beerdrinking party.

This one was a beaut. It looked nicer than home!

We make this place look crumby
We make this place look crumby

We could have easily overnighted here. I wish we would have. As it was though, we had our lunch, warmed up, and tried to decide if we wanted to go back out or just take a nap in the sun on the couch.

In the end, most of us went – except Sabine – my wife of extraordinary beauty and intelligence. She stayed behind while the rest of us took a couple more laps. These were good – but I think a cuddle with the missus would have been good too.

Since I’ve given away the secret of these great huts – please keep in mind that they are not free. There is a small cost associated with them and you are on your honor to pay it. Please do – the fee finances the hut. You can find out more about the kinds of huts there are and how it all works by googling DNT.

Even our guide was having a bit of fun – and when I did a pro call-out on a guide running another group through – she filmed it. Smiles were everywhere.

Erin Smart - a good one, based out of Chamonix
Erin Smart – a good one, based out of Chamonix
Another lap
Another lap

Eventually – it was time to get gone though – so we looped around the hut and picked up this lady….

Sabine Maschina - oh so meana
Sabine Maschina – oh so meana

and continued on. There was a small climb, and then a small traverse with some flats to get us back to the top of the ski resort. Flats plus snowboarders – you guessed it:

Slowboarders - STILL TRANSITIONING! Its ok - we like them anyway
Slowboarders – STILL TRANSITIONING! Its ok – we like them anyway

And that was that!

When we got home – there was some of this:

Whale Meat
Whale Meat

Which was grilled – and tasted….well…..like kind of dry beef. Some claimed a slight fishy aftertaste – but I didn’t. We got the whole story from the owner of the lodge – it was a point with him.

It seems that the Norwegians allow limited whaling – and only of pilot whales. Accourding to him – these smaller whales have recovered, and while they can’t be fished in large numbers – the amount allowed by Norway is ok. Even that, he says, is not reached – and less than half the allowed amount is even taken.

I decided not to discuss it – also because I didn’t have any reason to disbelieve him. All in all though – even though it was ok – I’m not hankering for a whale steak in the future. You’re not missing a bunch – I can assure you.

A few beers – a few jokes – round disapproval of Tyler’s remarkably stinky socks – and off to bed.

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